Is a Managed Service Provider Right for You?
Today’s business demands change rapidly, and their evolution is supported by advancements in the technology that supports both the “front of the house” and the supply chain. Are you equipped to keep up with these advancements? How are you optimizing your company’s operations, future-proofing your ability to take secure payments and enhancing the end user/customer experience? Can you handle everything yourself or should you partner with a third-party managed services provider?
If you’re exploring whether to outsource or manage these responsibilities in-house, consider these five factors before making a decision.
Determine the Cost Difference Between In-House and Outsourced
Today’s technology landscape is diverse and growing increasingly complex to manage, optimize and secure. Is your team familiar with the latest and greatest technologies? It is expensive to hire in-house experts to support such a range of equipment, and costs are not limited to salary. Each employee added to the team also requires benefits, training, management and more. Evaluate your current and future state tech fleet and consider whether you will be able to support it or if a third-party managed services provider could help reduce costs and provide access to a more comprehensive retail management bench.
One important factor to consider is equipment financing. With a managed services provider, you may have the option to bundle hardware (including equipment from multiple OEMs) with services and analytics into a predictable monthly payment. Handling the purchase directly often requires a large capital outlay and separate ongoing service costs. Some manufacturers offer their own financing programs, but understandably can’t bundle in competitive equipment or OEM-agnostic support.
Even the price you pay for the devices can be impacted. Large third-party partners can leverage economies of scale, as well as their pre-established relationships with OEMs and other industry players to obtain extremely favorable pricing. And even if you’re not ready to upgrade, they may be able to help you find and maintain refurbished equipment.
The cost of retiring any existing equipment should also be considered given that safety and compliance are a top priority for any organization. Working with a third-party partner increases your chances of recouping money as many offer buy-back or remarketing programs. Some can even bundle this into the new hardware deal, thereby decreasing costs even further. And if the equipment has truly reached the end of its life, a third-party partner can ensure it is properly disposed of and compliant with all federal and state regulations.
Factor in Your Teams' Capabilities and Time Constraints
There is a certain level of expertise required when evaluating and purchasing enterprise technology. To do everything in-house indicates that you are fully knowledgeable about the latest offerings and confident in selecting one that’s going to be compatible with existing infrastructure and allow you to remain competitive for the next three to five years.
Remember that every new device must be properly deployed and brings the need for additional training. Do you have the capacity to quickly and efficiently rollout new technology to your various locations and train your staff on new tools? Does your team have the bandwidth, knowledge and infrastructure to manage the ongoing maintenance and repair of this equipment? What if certain members of the team were to leave the organization or transition to a new role? Would you feel confident in your ability to keep the day-to-day up and running? If your staff is lean or already stretched to the limit, they likely don’t have the expertise or time to take on these responsibilities. Partnering with a third-party managed service provider can help lessen the risk for any disruption despite internal bandwidth constraints or turnover.
Are You Able to Keep Devices and Data Secure?
All organizations should know exactly where their devices are at all times, and this oversight generally requires a combination of software and staff. Do you have an asset management portal to manage your technology fleet? Is it OEM agnostic? What type of analytics and reporting are available? The right managed service provider can help you monitor device location, performance and expenses in real-time and leverage this data to optimize the management of your program.
If payment processing plays a meaningful role in your operations, PCI compliance and security are also critical factors in making sure that you're protecting yourself and your customers. Many companies find that keeping up with the latest in regulatory and security standards is a significant burden to manage in-house. Partnering with a third-party provider is almost a necessity given how rapidly technology is evolving. Having a partner can help you stay on top of the ever-changing landscape.
Who is in Control of Your Tech Program?
You should also consider the future state of your program and the likelihood of it growing or retracting in the near-term. If performance is suffering or if the volume of equipment or breadth of services needs to change, you must be able to adapt quickly and make changes fast. Internal restructuring, whether it be adding or reducing staff, is much more complicated than adjusting or ending a contract with a third-party provider.
If you do outsource, it is best to choose a partner who can cater to a wide breadth of services. Having one vendor will free up your time by streamlining communication to one point of contact. Just be sure to confirm which, if any, services are subcontracted to a third party. While you may still enjoy a single point of contact on a day-to-day basis, the quality and timeliness of your program may be compromised with too many “cooks in the kitchen.” We also suggest finding a partner with multiple locations, serving multiple time zones and geographic regions.
The Role of Your IT Department in Enterprise Tech Management
Most IT departments aspire to be more strategic but often get bogged down in the minutiae of the day-to-day. While these tasks are essential, they are often labor-intensive, time-consuming and distract from efforts to support key business developments and enhance overall digital transformation efforts.
While some global companies are, in fact, equipped to manage their tech program in-house, most other organizations struggle with at least one aspect. A strategic partnership with a managed services provider can help optimize a tech management program while allowing your team to focus on bigger picture objectives.
At TRG, we’ve helped over 5,000 companies of all sizes accomplish their enterprise mobility, point of sale and payment processing objectives. Contact us to talk with one of our team members today.
TRG is a global managed solutions provider focused on mobility, point of sale and payments. With facilities across the United States, Canada and Europe, we provide the most comprehensive suite of lifecycle management services – from warehouse to boardroom and deployment to retirement. Our mission is to Make Technology Simple, helping customers accelerate projects, drive application success, improve employee/customer experience and maximize ROI. We’re relentless in our drive to find innovative, effective ways to enhance customer operations and challenge conventional thinking along the way. Learn more about why The Difference Is Us at www.trgsolutions.com.